One Night Surprise Chapter 278

Chapter 278 Can I Be Your Apprentice?

The atmosphere grew heavy almost instantly.

The director of the manufacturing company was a middle-aged man who wore a pair of little round spectacles. He looked bright and capable, but his expression was now stony as he pointed out, “Mr. Dawson, there’s nothing wrong with these.”

“Nothing wrong?” Bill repeated incredulously as his hand swept down to pick up one of the discarded shirts and waved it in front of the director’s face. “The shirt placket is all messed up and look at the stitching! As soon as this batch goes out the door, it carries with it the pride and dignity of the entire Hunter Group! With a quality like this, you’re going to cost us our reputation!”

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The director looked uneasy at the confrontation. Upon seeing that, Courtney stepped up and assumed the role of a mediator; she tugged at Bill’s sleeve as she said, “Stop talking for a bit and let me have a word with the director.”

“And you are…” The director adjusted his spectacles and appraised Courtney curiously.

Most of the work that required trips to the manufacturing company were all previously done by the designers. As such, she had never officially met the director.

Standing at one side, Natasha promptly made the necessary introductions. “This is Courtney Hunter—President Hunter, the director of Hunter Group.

“President Hunter?” The older man blinked. “I beg your pardon, Miss. I didn’t think you’d be so young!”

“That’s all right,” Courtney answered pleasantly. She looked at Bill and silently indicated for him to step aside. She then went over to the director to have a private word with him.

“Mr. Finch, please excuse Mr. Dawson. He’s actually great at everything except keeping his temper in check,” Courtney began. “Here’s the thing—we need this batch to be ready within a month. With a deadline like this, you’ll understand why we can’t afford even the slightest of mistakes. We’re terribly sorry if we offended you in any way.”

Mr. Finch replied sheepishly, “Please don’t apologize. After all, it was our fault in the first place. I just returned from Elmsbury and I was just about to supervise the production for your batch. I didn’t think we’d run into problems so soon.”

“You seem like a reasonable man, Mr. Finch. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how important this is to us. If you could work a little overtime just to keep an eye on the process, reworking the products won’t be necessary, don’t you think?” Upon having said that, she lifted a slender finger like she was drawing an idea out of thin air. “How about this? If you can finish the production earlier, then we’ll incentivize you on a contractual basis. If quality is ensured and you finish the work a day earlier than the deadline, you will receive a five percent incentive on top of the agreed sum—ten percent if you finish the work two days earlier.”

“If we finish the work ten days before, then that would be…” Mr. Finch continued as his mind worked out the calculations as he grinned at Courtney. He did not have to say anything to let her know that he was more than agreeable with the proposition.

Courtney was well-acquainted with the way businessmen worked—she drove a hard bargain, but she needed to make it worth his while too.

On their way there, she and Bill had settled on the good cop, bad cop strategy in order to make sure that things turned out the way they wanted. After all, they did not want to come off as gullible to Mr. Finch.

It was nightfall by the time she made her way home after tying up all the loose ends at the manufacturing company. She offered to drop Bill and Natasha off along the way. The villa on Lotus Road had been vacant for a while, so she let him move in and make it his home for the time being.

They were pulling up outside the villa when Natasha asked suddenly, “Bill, I was wondering—can I be your apprentice and learn fashion designing from you?”

Courtney glanced into the rearview mirror and saw that Bill’s eyebrows were drawn together. He asked in reply, “Why do you want to learn fashion designing?”

“Because I like it.”

“Just because you like it doesn’t mean you’ll be good at it. That’s just how the world works. Have you dabbled in fashion designing before this?”

“I… I have not.”

From the rearview mirror, Courtney could see Natasha shrinking into herself, as though she wanted to curve around the inferiority that she experienced. In all the time that she knew Natasha, it was the first time that she saw a sheepish look pass across the girl’s face—a stark contrast from her usually composed disposition.

Judging from the way that Bill closed the door after getting down from the car, it was clear that he had no idea about the effect his words had on Natasha. Like most men, he was oblivious to the many aspects of chivalry and he had a mind that was straighter than steel. It was no wonder that he was single even though he was nearly forty years old; he practically doomed himself to perpetual bachelorhood.

As the car roared to life, Courtney teased lightly, “You know, it’s pretty clever of you to come up with the strategy of learning fashion designing from Bill. I mean, designing is all he ever thinks about. There’s nothing much else going on in his brain.”

Natasha looked confused for a moment, but when she finally made sense of what Courtney said, she quickly explained, “Miss Hunter, I’m afraid you’ve taken this the wrong way. I really want to learn fashion designing from Bill.”

“Well, this is going to be harder than the other thing I meant,” Courtney mused, her hands on the steering wheel as she kept her eyes on the road beyond the windscreen. “You know how proud these artistic types are and they show little mercy to those who are weaker than them in the industry. If you really become his apprentice—and that’s on the basis that he’s even willing to take you in—he’s going to destroy your self-esteem. Would you be able to live with that?”

Natasha sighed. “As long as Bill is willing to take me in, I’ll be grateful anyhow.”

“You seem dedicated.” Courtney was beginning to believe that Natasha was really interested in fashion designing. She raised a brow as she asked. “Are you really that interested in fashion design? Let me have a word with Bill to see whether he’s willing to take you in as an apprentice.”

“No, you don’t have to,” Natasha answered hastily. “I’ll figure a way out on my own. He wouldn’t turn you down if you asked, but I really want him to teach me because he wants to do it—and not because he’s doing you a favor.”

She seemed so determined that Courtney had no choice but to relent. She did not pursue the matter any further. After all, even she could not be certain that she could persuade the ever-eccentric Bill to do her such a favor.

When Courtney arrived home that night, she was carrying a bag of potatoes. A nearby grocery store was offering discounts for potatoes and they were being sold in two giant heaps right at the entrance. She had bought a large bag of them after seeing how fresh the produce was.

She was greeted with darkness the moment she arrived home. Her fingers felt blindly along the wall as she looked for the light switch, which usually was not hard to locate—given its proximity to the door. However, instead of stumbling across the switch, her fingers came across something cold and soft before the door suddenly slammed shut behind her.

A startled Courtney screamed as she withdrew her hand, letting the bag of potatoes to drop to the floor.

The sound of her screams coupled with the thudding sound of the potatoes hitting the ground, seemed to reverberate throughout the house like a prelude to a horror film.

She trembled as she reached for her phone while calling out, “Alexander! Alexander!” Alexander ought to be here at this hour, but it seems like there is no one at home at all.

The floor was cast in the weak silver moonlight that filtered through the curtains and her ears pricked up at the sound of footsteps coming from the children’s room.

Courtney could hear the blood pounding in her ears as she yelled, “Alexander, is that you?”

However, as she said that, she saw the long shadow of a figure hiding behind the doorway. He appeared to be holding a chainsaw and from where she stood, she could see that there was red liquid dripping from the jagged edges of the weapon. What she saw made it all the more horrific under the ethereal moonlight.

All the scenes from the horror films that she watched flashed through her mind and she suddenly remembered the notice that was pinned up on the community bulletin board two days ago.

The notice warned that there was a serial killer on the loose and since he was recently spotted in Melrose City, the authorities wanted everyone to take precautions.

Courtney’s eyes widened as she mumbled, “Tina, Jordan…”

Meanwhile, the figure was slowly coming out from behind the door.

She reached for a potato and with her free hand, she felt along behind her until her fingers touched the cold steel of the doorknob. She was trembling while her heart raced, but she tried her best to stay calm. Perhaps Alexander and the kids are not home at all. Perhaps nothing happened and this man is just a burglar.

As soon as the figure emerged, Courtney threw the potato toward him and she quickly opened the door behind her so that she could escape.

She thought she heard a male grunt coming from within the room before it was drowned by the loud crash of his murder weapon landing on the floor. It was as though the crash was a deadly, demonic claw that aimed for her, threatening to pull her down into the depths of hell.

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